Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Prayer for the Care of Children, BCP page 829.
Every Sunday, during the Rite 1 liturgy of the Mass, we hear that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind: this is the first and greatest commandment, Jesus tells us. But in Deuteronomy, where this commandment originally appears, we are also told to keep these words in our hearts, reciting them to our children at all places, morning and evening. Our households are to be inscribed with the obedience of God; an hour or so a week in a church is not enough. By far the biggest influence on formation as disciples happens in the home.
Our intergenerational ministry with families and children is grounded upon this foundation. During the school year, special all-age gatherings reflecting the liturgical year help Emmanuelites from the youngest to the oldest connect across the generations with Jesus and with each other. There, we learn together learn the basic building blocks of the Christian life such as praying the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary, serving others, or welcoming the stranger. Rather than separating the body of Christ by age, we are learning how to live as one community, mentoring and listening together.